Mississippi State offensive lineman Michael Story pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after he admitted to leaving his ex-girlfriend’s dog alone for long stretches of time.
Story, who was suspended for two games last season, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty in August of 2018. Tuesday’s guilty plea comes with a six-month suspended jail sentence, two years of probation and a $1,000 fine.
Story’s ex-girlfriend Maryssa Edwards moved to Tennessee to take a job during the summer of 2018. She remained friendly with Story and said he had agreed to take care of the dog while she was away. He did not do that.
On Aug. 18, 2018, Edwards and her mother came back to Starkville to get the dog, a great dane named Kodak, after Edwards said became suspicious of what Story was telling her about the dog. There was an eviction notice on the apartment where the dog was being held and the dog, Edwards said, weighed only 70 pounds.
Edwards went to the back bedroom and opened the door to find Kodak on the floor amid his own urine and feces. She said Kodak struggled to get himself up to greet her.
"You could tell the mood completely dropped when everyone saw him," Edwards said. "It was truly a moment I'll never forget."
Janelle Edwards, who is Maryssa's mother, said dog toys and pieces of trash were strewn throughout the room. A bag of dog food was in the kitchen, but Kodak did not have access to it. She saw the door frame had been chewed in what she described as an "obvious attempt that Kodak was trying to escape."
"It was truly a nightmare that came to life like something you'd see in a movie," Janelle Edwards, 52, said.
Thankfully, Kodak is now doing well and has gotten back to a healthy weight.
Mississippi State said in a statement to the paper Wednesday that it would have no further comment about Story’s plea and that his discipline was handled last season. Story was at practice Tuesday in a non-contact jersey hours after his sentence was handed down.
Story, a redshirt senior in 2019, played in nine games as a reserve guard for the Bulldogs in 2018 and his bio on the team site says he’ll be “in the rotation at guard” in 2019. The Ripley, Mississippi, native redshirted in 2015 and started two games as a redshirt freshman in 2016.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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